The Washington Capitals have several needs this off-season. While shoring up their defense is by far the most important, another huge need is shoring up their top six forwards. If the Ottawa Senators are interested in moving forward Jason Spezza, as reports have said, Spezza could be a target for the Washington Capitals.
The Good About Jason Spezza
Jason Spezza is extremely talented. He has quietly had a very good career- in 686 career games, Spezza has 687 career points. That makes him a point per game player over the course of his career. While his cap hit will be $7,000,000 in 2014-2015, he’s only under contract for the 2014-2015 season. His +/- this season was -26, but there is a very good reason for that: when Spezza was on the ice, his goalies had a collective save percentage of just 88.9%, which is abnormally low. His shot percentage (10.3%) was also down from his career norm (13.9%). This suggests that he probably suffered from a bit of bad luck in 2013-2014.
Jason Spezza is a very good puck possessor (52.3% Corsi%). He has proven to be pretty durable, as he’s played in at least 60 games in every season he’s been in the NHL except for 2013 when he got injured.
The Bad About Jason Spezza
If the Washington Capitals trade for Jason Spezza, he might only be around for one season. That might not agree with what the new Capitals front office wants to do. If they want to go all in for one more season, Spezza would obviously help with that. However, says who the new front office will want to do that? His defense is not that great, or at least the Senators don’t seem to think it is because of his 55.0% ZS% (calculated by the formula: offensive zone starts / offensive starts + defensive zone starts). When a forward takes over half of his zone starts in the offensive zone, that suggests that the team does not trust him too much on defense.
I think that Jason Spezza is somebody who the Washington Capitals should definitely take a look at. One thing to keep in mind: Spezza has a modified no trade clause which allows him to submit a 10 team no trade list each season. If the Washington Capitals are on Jason Spezza’s 10 team no trade list, there’s nothing that the Capitals can do about that.
As I said earlier, if the Washington Capitals want to go all-in for another season, Jason Spezza would be a terrific trade target if they can handle his cap number ($7,000,000). If they can’t re-sign Mikhail Grabovski, that would make Spezza an even better fit.
If the Capitals trade for Jason Spezza, I’d let Spezza be the second line center and move Grabovski (if they re-sign him) down to the third line. Of course, I’d shore up the defense before trading for Spezza.
As far as what it would take to get Jason Spezza, my guess is that Marcus Johansson would have to be a part of the deal. It would probably take at least Johansson + a legitimate prospect to get Spezza.
As always, let me know what you think by voting in the poll and leaving comments!